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RCSEd Endorses Williams Review into Gross Negligence Manslaughter in Healthcare

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11 Jun 2018

Responding to today's publication of the Williams Review into gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare, Professor Michael Lavelle Jones, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said:

“As medical professionals, we must do all we can to learn from the events that lead to Jack Adcock’s tragic death to ensure that where possible, they are not repeated.

“Therefore we endorse the recommendations made by the Review, such as more support for medical professionals in review hearings, training of expert witnesses, a greater sharing of consultants’ performance data and having deaths investigated by a medical examiner or coroner, as important ways of creating a more supportive and transparent culture.

“We also agree that a clearer understanding of basic human error and gross negligence manslaughter will help also identify and give proper redress to those doctors whose performance is so 'truly exceptionally bad' that it requires a criminal sanction. Given the important role that human factors play in determining the quality of patient care, we concur that a greater understanding and wider adoption of non-technical skills and training will have a tangible benefit.

“Further, we support the recommendation that the GMC should no longer require registrants to submit reflective material in fitness to practice cases. We strongly believe that reflection and reflective practice are vital for doctors to learn from mistakes and ensure they are never repeated.

“Moreover, as surgery is a team effort, we also believe that systemic factors which include workload, the quality and availability of consultant support and ongoing training and development must be considered whenever a service fails.

“Patient safety is paramount and along with other medical Royal Colleges we will be considering the Review in more detail other the coming days.”

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